Volume 14 Number 96
                       Produced: Tue Aug 23 23:56:11 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

a) Caffeine and Fasting; b) Women and Kaddish
         [Melvyn Chernick]
Judaism and Racism
         [Richard H. Schwartz]
Moshiach & Techias HaMeysim
         [David Steinberg]
politics and Halacha
         [Eli Turkel]
Rabbenu Tam Tefillen
         [Barry Freundel]
Racial Slurs
         [Frank Silbermann]
Selichot at Midnight
         [Joseph Steinberg]
YU Environment (2)
         [Michael Lipkin, Jay Bailey]


From: <chernick@...> (Melvyn Chernick)
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 1994 14:31:36 -0400
Subject: Re: a) Caffeine and Fasting; b) Women and Kaddish

a) With regard to the exchanges about the cause of headaches on fast
days and what to do about them, an article on the subject appeared in
the N.Y.State Journal of Medicine (Feb. 1977) by Shorofsky and Lamm
recommending a weaning period of about a week before the *taanit* to the
point that, one or 2 days before the fast, no coffee at all is consumed.
Alternatively, a suppository containing 150 mg of caffeine (300 mg of
citrated caffeine) can be taken the morning of the fast. Of course, the
best method is to wean yourself away from caffeine products altogether;
try it -- you'll like it!

b) May women recite the Kaddish in shule? I once asked a great *gadol,
zatzal* about this and he told me that in the shule of the Vilna Gaon
(in Vilna, of course) women DID recite Kaddish. That should be
sufficient authority for anyone.


From: Richard H. Schwartz <RHSSI@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 94 15:07:59 EDT
Subject: Judaism and Racism

I wish to commend Robert Klapper for raising the important issue of
Jewish racism (Vol.14, #84) and Ira Rosen and Rabbi Barry Freundel for
their cogent responses (Vol. 14, #93).
     Of the many Jewish responses to racism, perhaps the most powerful
is the following statement by Malachai(2:10):
     Have we not one Father?
     Hath not one G-d created us?
     Why then do we deal treacherously with one another, profaning the covenant
 of our fathers?
     As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel pointed out:
     Prayer and prejudice cannot dwell in the same heart.  Worship without
       compassion is worse than self-deception; it is an abomination.
               (the Insecurity of Freedom, p. 87)
     There is far too much racism among Jews today.  Let us hope that the
new year will bring a major reduction in anti-Semitism and all forms of racism.


From: David Steinberg <dave@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 1994 03:55:58 -0400
Subject: Moshiach & Techias HaMeysim

In mj 14 #69 David Kaufman takes me to task regarding the concerns I had 
expressed about the dissemination of the notion that the Lubabvitcher 
Rebbe ztz'l will be resurrected as Moshiach.  In specific, he argues
".. the real question is not the familiarity of the idea but its Jewish 

I disagree strongly.

Dovid HaMelech tells us in Psalms 25:14 Sod Hashem Li'Yeraiov (Hashem's
secrets are reserved to those who fear Him).  There is a long history of
discussion as to how Torah may be taught.  Torah may only be taught to
an appropriate talmid (student).

Furthermore, the first Mishnah in the second pereq of Chagiga teaches
that one may not teach Arrayot (intricacies of halacha regarding
sexually impermissible behavior) to three students (see the Gemora-
L'Shelosha also Bartenura etc) and Maasei Breshis (details of creation -
various opinions as to what is referred to) to two students.  The Gemora
on 13.  is quite concerned about whom a teacher may instruct in Sisrei
Torah (Torah Secrets)

Now admittedly we are not dealing with Yediot (concepts) as esoteric as
Creation or Merkava.  Nevertheless, we are not dealing with Aleph Beis
either.  My understanding of the above Gemorah is that we must be
careful who is taught what information and how it is taught.  Just
because something is 'Jewishly Valid' does not mean it should be
disseminated.  I saw news broadcasts in which 7 year olds espoused the
belief that the Rebbe Ztz'l will be resurrected.  I do not believe that
7 year olds should be exposed to non-mainstream concepts of this sort.
The fact that one can find an isolated Medrash or a Sdei Chemed does not
qualify the concept as fundamental.

To show the level of concern Chazal had regarding the potential danger
of publicizing ideas look at the Gemorahs in Shaabos 153: and Menochos
99: where concerns were cited as to teaching specific Halochos to the
unlearned for fear the Halochos will be misapplied.

Finally, Mr. Kaufman argues that many of the Rebbe Ztz'l's initiatives
such as Tefillin and Candle-lighting were not adequately admired outside
of Lubavitch and that Lubavitch rekindled the yearning for Moshiach.

I was quite careful, in my post, to be respectful of the Rebbe.  Its not
my place to 'Mish zich in Rebbe Zachin' (butt in or speculate about
differences Rebbes' politics) But it is not totally apparent that the
Rebbe himself presented himself as Moshiach.  Was the Rebbe Ztz'l even
aware of the frenzy of the Heichanu LaMelech HaMoshiach campaign?  (One
of my friends notes that the campaign did not attain currency while Rav
Moshe, Rav Yaakov or the Rov were around to respond) Did the Melech
HaMoshiach frenzy with its dialins and pagers represent a more authentic
yearning for Moshiach than is manifested in the rest of orthodox jewery?
Sometimes all the noise is only 'Kol Anos'.

And certainly, the Rebbe Ztz'l didn't manifestly predict that he'll
return as moshiach L'Achar Moves (after his passing)

David Steinberg


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 1994 16:39:38 -0400
Subject: politics and Halacha

Yisrael Medad says

>>  It would seem that the interaction between Halacha and politics (as
>>  defined as 'affairs of state' rather than party intrigues) is
>>  unavoidable and belongs properly among the discussion themes of Mail-
>>  Jewish, despite Eli Turkels's protestations.

     Just to be clear I do not object to the discussion of political/
halachic questions on mail.jewish . What I do object to is a call to
participate in some demonstration based on what a certain rabbi said.

Eli Turkel


From: <Dialectic@...> (Barry Freundel)
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 1994 02:20:40 -0400
Subject: Rabbenu Tam Tefillen

I once researched this subject quite thoroughly.
1. The order of the parshiot is not halacha lmoshe misinai though an error
pasuls the tefillin
2. the debate is far older than Rashi & rabbenu Tam. It is at least Gaonic
and IMHO talmudic, probably originally Palestine (Rashi) vs. Babylon (R. Tam)
3. there are two other opinions the reverse of Rashi -Shimusha Rabbah and the
reverse of Rabbenu Tam (Ravad) 
4. We follow Rashi primarily because Rambam changed in mid-life from what we
call R. Tam  to what we call Rashi's


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 1994 19:57:04 -0400
Subject: Racial Slurs

A few readers have complained of hearing racial slurs and jokes from
Jews -- even from Torah scholars who should know better.  Even if one
thinks that only other Jews will hear the racist joke, one may be
overheard unexpectedly one time in a hundred -- and it is that one time
which does the damage.

We do indeed have serious conflicts with _some_ blacks, just as gentiles
have legitimate complaints about _some_ Jews.  When we hear a gentile
complain about having been cheated by a Jewish businessman, for example,
our reactions are _so_ much more sympathetic if he criticizes just that
one individual, and not the entire Jewish people.  Well, African
Americans have similar reactions.

As we push away with one hand those blacks who do us evil, let us at the
same time beckon those who do not do us evil to come closer.  Let us not
help our enemies turn them into allies.

Frank Silbermann	<fs@...>
Tulane University	New Orleans, Louisiana  USA

P.S.  Any MJ'er visiting New Orleans who would like to learn handgun
      safety, mechanics and shooting techniques is invited to phone me
      at (504) 866-2160, and perhaps we will be able to arrange a session.


From: Joseph Steinberg <steinber@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 1994 19:08:27 -0400
Subject: Re: Selichot at Midnight

:In modern day U.S.A., since we generally don't work on Sunday, 
:did the selichot get moved back to midnight?
:What is the custom in Israel today since most Israeli's work on Sunday?
:Are their also first selichot services before the normally scheduled
:Sunday morning prayers?

The custom in Yeshivat Sha'alvim is to say Selichot at midnight EVERY 
NIGHT OF SELICHOT (from Rosh Chodesh Elul in the Sefardic Minyan and from 
the 'designated' Sunday in the Ashkenazic minyan -- until Yom Kippur)

   _\ \ \  / __`\  /',__\  /'__`\/\ '__`\\ \  _ `\    Joseph Steinberg
  /\ \_\ \/\ \L\ \/\__, `\/\  __/\ \ \L\ \\ \ \ \ \   The Courant Institute
  \ \____/\ \____/\/\____/\ \____\\ \ ,__/ \ \_\ \_\  <steinber@...>
   \/___/  \/___/  \/___/  \/____/ \ \ \/   \/_/\/_/  +1-201-833-9674


From: <msl@...> (Michael Lipkin)
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 1994 10:17:50 -0400
Subject: YU Environment

In MJ 14:92 Michael Broyde says:

>One of the writers commented on the environment at Yeshiva University.
>In my years there, I never saw conter-halachic behavior there, although,
>to be honest, I am sure that it occured -- as it does in all yeshivot.

In my YEAR there I saw a lot. Pot smoking, women in dorm rooms (not just
playing cards), visits to the local GO-GO bar, destruction of school
property, massive amounts of cheating (including tests in Jewish studies!),
and more.  One of the lowest moments I experienced that year (yes I 
participated in this one) was one Motzei Shabbos a group of bochrim decided
to take in a movie...on 42nd street. For those of you not familiar with
the area, let's just say it's not exactly the type of movie you'd take
your kids to.  Anyway, since we were yeshiva bochrim we had a major
halachic discussion as to whether we should remove our yarmulkas or
wear ski hats! 

>I am, to be honest, in agreement with the writer who suggested that YU
>is not a place for recent Balai teshuva.  

I don't know if I would agree with this as a blanket statement, but it
certainly has validity.  I had become frum a few years earlier through
NCSY and was basically dropped on the doorstep of Y.U.  There was
little guidance from Y.U. and little follow through from NCSY.  I had a
friend with similar background who also attended a public school where
drugs were readily available.  As we entered Y.U. we both expressed our
self-pride in not having succumbed.  A month into the first semester he
was getting high on a nightly basis.  By the way, this did not occur in
the drug crazed 60's.  This was the '77-'78 school year.

>I doubt that a person who is only recently accepted the yoke of
>commandments has that balance, and can function well in such a place
>without be overwhelmed by all the secular persuits, which are by no
>means counter-halachic, but simply have a place.

There were also plenty of FFB's who did not exactly thrive in this 
environment.  So I don't think this only applies to baalei teshuva.

My intent here is not to bash Y.U.  I regret not having had the inner
strength or guidance to have "stuck it out", because to this day I'm
still struggling to gain the skills in learning I could have attained
had I remained. I think the finest products of Y.U. are among the
finest products of any yeshiva and are often better equipped to thrive
in secular society.  However, there are people, some in my community,
who naively see Y.U. as this idyllic place where the students, after
hours spent on secular studies, spend every spare moment in the bais

There is a dark side to Y.U. and it was significant the year I was
there.  From what some recent graduates tell me things appear to be
much better.  Indeed, I see a lot of high caliber young people coming
out of Y.U. these days.  I think the, now routine, year or two in
Israel is making a difference for both FFB's and baalei teshuva.  Then
again maybe I have on the same rose colored glasses others had on when
I was at Y.U.  I'd be interested to know from recent grads or current
students if some of the things I witnessed are still pervasive.


From: <bailey@...> (Jay Bailey)
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 1994 13:03:15 -0400
Subject: Re: YU Environment

I've been reading the ongoing discussion about Yeshiva University and
its Orthodoxy and I've just GOT to add my two cents here.

I went to YU and served as editor of The Commentator, the undergraduate
newspaper that goes out to all the campuses and to alumni. While I come
from a community with strong YU ties, and have always believed that I
was Hashkafically congruent with the institution, my position as editor
of the student paper almost demanded I be critical of its people and
policies. And critical I was, though it was out of love for the school.

My main point is short and to the point...anyone who makes generalities
about "YU guys" or "the YU Community" has not spent any time there. Why?
Because these entities do not exist in the abstract.  There are SO many
different kinds of people from every possible background, and the
faculty varies as well in terms of philosophical/religious direction and
emphasis. There are groups and sub groups; black hat,
non-black-hat-yeshivish, Zionists, BT's, rebels, conformists, future
politicians, and future rabbis. The point is that it is a type of
microcosm of the outside world. No healthy, thriving Jewish community is
homogenous, and neither is YU...  For every criticism I read, I could
give cause for praise ... and vice versa.

Jay Bailey


End of Volume 14 Issue 96